Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Running Green

I have two songs on my mind at the moment, one that's so obviously Celtic and another that I once thought was sung by a Japanese band. Which one sounds more interesting? I think the pseudo-Japanese one takes the prize here (the other one was 'Come on Eileen' by Dexy's Midnight Runners, which is probably overall more boring to write about considering everyone older than me knows it).

I don't really remember the year, I usually attribute it to 2005, but I could be wrong. I heard this song via a commercial - on the song's page it even references its use, in an "Intel Pentium TV advertisement." This was the reason I thought it was a Japanese band. The majority of the commercial featured Asian children (which I attributed to being Japanese) using laptops and computers in an interesting way to showcase the technology's applications and neatness, perhaps its feats as well. They practiced music and web-chatted with teachers. Throughout all of this played this neat piano-driven song. The vocalist's way of singing also helped along this belief the song was from Japan.

I couldn't have been more wrong, of course. I heard the song again during an episode of How I Met Your Mother from the first season, which excited me. I could look it up now. I listened for the lyrics, and seconds later, I was given this:


Yes, maybe even their album cover faces look Japanese, but they're British and it was released in 1995, not 2005 as I'd thought.

It spent all day yesterday in my head, largely the introduction. It's very driven and fun-sounding, bright and jaunty. I am 90% sure that the chord that's being played is D major. A constant D major accompanied by a left-hand note progression of D, A-B-D, A-B-D... The reason I say 90% is because while it fits the chord very well, it sounds slightly pale to me, like it's not quite fully D major but a chord that dampens its pinkishness, makes it sound slightly distant. It might simply be the piano used, or the microphone, or whatever. D minor is much whiter than major, which is a bright pink. This chord is right in between, a whiter pink, which is why I said 'paler.' So it may very well be D major, but I'm not saying that that's 100% for certain.

Even so, it made my day because of my synesthetic attributions of it. I usually put D major's personality - the bright, considerate, gentle, kind, happy girl who is very friendly - on to girls with 'the look' and there's one that works in the store right now. If I saw her, particularly her face, the piano introduction would instantly start playing in my head, and I'd end up looking like an idiot with my grinning, giggling, and sounds of content. Synesthetic meshing at work. Thankfully no one really noticed unless they saw me smiling at least.

It's an impressive song from people who were younger than I am now when they recorded it. Apparently they were hardly out of their teens. The singer does sound young. On Wikipedia, I read that it's about just getting into that time of your life, noticing girls, hanging out, growing facial hair for the first time, etc. etc. yet still being quite young, just older than a younger child. "We are young, we run green, keep our teeth nice and clean." That lyric is juxtaposed against lyrics about smoking and getting wheels and looking for feels, etc. Getting into the teenage experience for the first time.

The singer's Cockney accent really shows in this song, but I like it. It's probably what helped my wrongful perception of them being Japanese at first. I haven't gotten into the song's progression, but I can say that the main riff stays in D major (I think) with a jump to E minor for one bit. Based on a quote I'd read from the place everyone reads this stuff, the song is apparently in a major scale, so probably D major.


They really look like boys in that video.

I really must say, kudos to such young people for creating something quite appealing to the ear and being recognized for it. The music video helps along that bright perception I have, particularly for the beach scenes. I find the opening scene of the pianist at the water line quite powerful - it's a great visual to juxtapose something bright and happy-sounding. I want to do that if I ever get to a point where I create a song with a bright piano riff - have me at it on Mooney's Bay beach in the morning sun. The scenes where they're on the beach with the sky behind them is also quite powerful because that is virtually the first time I've seen a British music video filmed outside on a beach in England with a clear, blue sky with white clouds in the background. If they can't get a nice sunny day for a music video to a song like 'Walking on Sunshine' (they're walking through thick fog on a miserable wet winter day), that visual here sure is a turnaround for how I see British music videos. While their names on their shirts is a bit silly and makes them seem too young, it's jaunty and catches the nature of the song itself, which means it works. It was directed by the group Dom & Nic, whom I recognize because they directed 'D'You Know What I Mean?' by Oasis, a video that came to be a big visual to me in my childhood on my mother's old tape (and shows a typical cloudy Britain day). I find the connection quite interesting.

Interestingly, one of the band's influences were Madness. They were considered a Britpop band, which was a thing in England in the 90s, largely headed by outfits like Oasis and Blur. But these guys seem too jaunty and bright and young to me to be anything similar to Oasis. I can see the Madness influence, though. Particularly in the piano and the staccato guitar beeps.

Song: A- (Good job)
Lyrics: B+
Video: B+

Once again, great effort to such a young group of guys (I'd rather use that word instead of 'boys'). They created a jaunty sound that I think would be easily recognizable and obvious anywhere, they wrote appropriate lyrics, and they made a video that captures and showcases that style pretty well - except for their silly names on their shirts. Good one.

Red Cloud
"

Friday, December 12, 2014

"How I Met Tracy"

After considering it for a week or two, I decided to take the plunge and watch How I Met Your Mother on Netflix, after seeing it available on there.

I'd written a post about how TV series tend to create ideals and focuses and expectations in people and used that series as an example. The problem was that I lacked much credit because I'd only seen bit and pieces of episodes. The only episode I'd seen almost all the way through was the second or third episode of the first season nine years ago, where Barney manipulates Ted onto a plane ride to talk to two girls. Until I started watching it a few days ago.

It's become a nice little distraction for me for the holiday in between semesters. I don't laugh out loud constantly through an episode or anything, but they're interesting enough for me to keep coming back. Only the Barney character tends to make me chuckle once or twice, but the plot lines are good and make sense.

I wonder if anyone noticed Tracy's name being given away in the ninth episode. I found it funny then - and continue to now - that fans capitalized "The Mother" and created a moniker of it. Presumably her name hadn't been revealed until the character herself had been, but that isn't true. That ninth episode is a Thanksgiving one. Barney drags Ted and Robin to a strip club at the end of the evening, and after Ted gives a homeless man money for a lap dance, a stripper approaches him and comments on his generosity. She gives him her name, he gives her his, and then she gives her real name - Tracy - and in a voiceover 2030 Ted shocks his children by saying that that was how he met their mother.

Of course he's joking - it cuts to his children reacting in horror - but the simple fact that they react in horror implies they did so because future Ted obviously told them her name as she gave it to him before joking that she was their mother. They wouldn't fall for his joke if he'd used another name. So she'd always been Tracy.

Being only halfway through the first season, the only couple of things for me is a) the disbelief that the future Ted would remember all of that, enough to create entire episodic plotlines (but that's how it works in TV land) and b) it seems to me to be more about a man who has a crush on a woman named Robin more than anything else. I kind of feel in good company when I watch Ted use her name in his contexts and tribulations. He and I have something very much in common. In that manner, I feel I can identify with him quite well. I might as well wrap it up by saying that the girl who came into sharp focus in my mind whenever I heard that B note in 'Year of the Cat' by Al Stewart shares her name with the brunette in that show.

It's still quite early on, and I know that it won't always be about a twenty-something man who has feelings for a twenty-something girl named Robin. Well, not entirely anyway. I smile at the thought of the ending.

Red Cloud
"

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Chords - In Review, The

Here is a very simple review (and directory) of sorts of all the chords I've examined.

C Major
The positive, studious, good-looking boy. Very down to earth.

The best example of the chord (and scale) used in music. The progression starts in C and the chorus uses it (and F) as well.

C Minor
The worried, anxious guy who makes mountains out of molehills and see problems easily.

The bass plays C and the keyboard does a C minor during the verses. That's the best example I know of that chord being used.

The full post.

D Major
The most friendly, considerate, inclusive girl. Always smiling. Makes time for everyone.

This 1991 R.E.M. song is definitely in D major. It's obvious from the beginning and I've tried writing the bass down as music on a staff; all the notes it plays are notes in the D major scale. The first note you hear is D in the chorus, followed by A major, its fifth in the scale.

D Minor
This woman doesn't find much joy in things and is just rather bored with everything. Can be blunt. A sceptical person.

This song not only uses D minor as a guitar chord but follows its natural minor scale (obvious from the verse progression going from D minor to A# or Bb, the only sharp/flat in that scale).

The full post.

E Major
This is the guy everyone at school or the office (or anywhere) knows. He's happy, optimistic, confident, in-your-face, eager to be everyone's friend, clap them on the back. The bombastic positive energy coming from him guarantees his position as student council president or the guy who takes everyone out for drinks on a Friday evening after work.

I looked over a lot of songs in my list that I'd labelled as in 'E' but I was wrong for virtually all of them including this one. E minor is quite a popular scale to play music in. This is also in E minor - the G note is the only reason though - so I'm using this because the progression otherwise follows the scale exactly save for the G. The chorus (of sorts) is in E major.

E Minor
The eternally frustrated, surprised and disappointed character. I actually quite like this chord, and I think most other musicians agree considering the wide amount of songs in that key.

This is the best example of E minor. The song is in that key and the first, dominant chord you hear is E minor on the guitar and bass. Followed by its fifth, of course, B minor.

The full post.

F Major
This is Mr. Impatience - he is smart and academic and never has enough time, can be hedonistic. The guy running ahead and yelling 'hurry up!'.

This song follows the key of F major I believe, and it's the first note you hear.

F Minor
The unfortunately unconfident, anxious nester of a woman who had negative experiences in school and reacted by putting walls up around herself.

This is a great example of F minor in music. The song is in that scale and the chord is obvious at the beginning of the progression. It's played by both the piano and the dominant, signature keyboard riff.

The full post.

G Major
Mr. Comfortable - the well-established character who is also the man of reason and very diplomatic. Not necessarily an everyman (considering those tend to get themselves in sticky situations in sitcoms) but a comfortable, pleasant, polite person who is the voice of reason in a room of argument and chaos.

This is a good example of a song in G major. G, D (its fifth), A, E. The song itself actually does kind of sound comfortable.

G Minor
The nostalgic guy who spends too much time in his past, thinking of happy memories, and not wanting good things to end. Hates goodbyes.

While the guitar chords are in major (G major, F major, etc.), the scale is G minor (melodic due to the E in the pre-chorus bit).

The full post.

A Major
This is the seemingly stoic, quiet character who underneath the shyness has a high level of care and endearment towards those he cares about most. Sees himself as potentially adventurous, but more of a dreamer and more of a background person.

This song follows a progression entirely in A major and starts off with that chord. I feel the dominant guitar part also follows the scale as well, starting high up on A. I think the musical (and lyrical) context of this song also showcases the characteristics of this chord/scale pretty well.

A Minor
The hardworking, pessimistic character who feels like he has a big hardship, but that's life and that's what he's stuck with. I said in the proper post that I got a bald barber, complete with apron, who emigrated to the country hoping for choice and promise and instead ended up stuck in that profession, feeling short-changed and limited. But that's life, and nothing's going to change it.

I was going to use 'I Ran (So Far Away)' by A Flock of Seagulls as it follows the scale, but I felt that the lack of an obvious A minor in any form in the song (it's just guitar-picking and one-note synths) it ends up sounding like A major to the ears rather than minor, and 'Echo Beach' uses the chord on guitar throughout the majority of the song (as well as follows the minor scale).

The full post.

B Major

This is the shy but cute and noticeably different girl-next-door. She doesn't really conform to others and like A major cares deeply about those she's close to while being shy.

I was going to use 'Rasputin' by Boney M. but while B major is extremely obvious in the song, it's only really the strings that make it so, and this song just simply strums it on the guitar lazily throughout. Unfortunately, both 'Rasputin' and this are actually in the scale of B minor - thanks to their usage of D - but consider this a good example of the chord rather than the scale.

B Minor
This is the deeply brooding, but deeply endearing chord. You can count on her to always be there for you, ready for any adventure you're about to go on. While she's more pessimistic, she's very committed. And not because she feels she isn't strong enough to be on her own, but because her feelings run deep - I would not cheat on this girl.

There is no better song to exemplify the sound of this minor chord and it's expression. B minor is the first sound you hear.

The full post.

C# Major
I wrote C# major as a dreamy, happy, almost too-perfect-seeming girl who despite setting big goals for herself actually goes out and meets them. I made reference to girls at school who always seemed 'out there,' on athletic council and student council - and on the honour roll.

It took me a bit of a while, but this is the result I could come up with best. While there are a couple of notes in there (such as B) that do not fully put it into a C# major scale, the rest of it follows the major scale and the guitar chords are major.

C# Minor
This is the girl with the very negative background who isn't exactly negative or brooding or anxious as a result (like F minor for instance) but rather disconnected and on her own. She throws away a lot of conventional ideas and only lives to fulfill herself, because others in the past definitely didn't help, so she no longer needs others. Therefore her views tend to come off as worldly and cultured thanks to the accelerated speed she had to grow up, though still being young there's a falseness that comes from those disconnected, independent views. And she's also very cautious, opening up to people very selectively. Very careful, thanks to experience.

One thing I've noticed in putting this together is that there are many more songs that are structured around minor scales than major ones. A major scale ends on a half-step movement, so E major's seventh, second-last note is D# (or E flat) before E. A minor scale doesn't, ending on a whole instead of a half, so for E minor, it's D. Musicians tend to like going down a whole step from the tonic than a half-step, so they'll still use major chords, but on a minor scale. This song is a great example, going a whole step down from C# to B, and it uses C# minor. So it fits.

The full post.

D# Major
The starry-eyed famous celebrity winking at the paparazzi cameras.

This is an obvious song in D# major. The procession follows the scale and the piano plays the chord in an inverted triad quite nicely. This is also another song I feel makes me think of the personality of the chord very well in its context.

D# Minor
This is the manipulative, suspicious, materialistic older woman who stirs drama in others around her to protect herself while being highly critical. I likened her to Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development.

This is the only real example I've found or at least listened to well enough to notice the keyboard starts the progression in D# minor while the bass keeps playing D# on its own.

The full post.

F# Major
The cool kid who has stories to tell. Easy-going with people and social but not super extroverted or introverted, just in the middle.

This doesn't follow the major scale all the way - but it follows the majority of it and uses the major chord.

F# Minor
This is Orson Welles as Citizen Kane. Accomplished in life, but not satisfied or fully happy. Not sure why.

This follows the minor scale (this and 'Around the Bend' use the same progression) but doesn't really use the minor chord itself. But that's not the end of the world, really. You can see how the root chord sounds the same as the one in 'Run to You.'

The full post.

G# Major
This is the guy who doesn't really not like or like anything, and has no obvious interests, drifts around.
Unfortunately, for the major, I do not know of or have any songs figured out that's in this scale or begins in this chord. Really.

G# Minor
This was the accident-prone guy with no confidence, always worrying about things. The tax man who hates confrontation.

This is the only song I've found that is in this scale. It's quite exotic-sounding to me rather than worrisome, although it's about a man who dreams who can fly (but always falls instead).

The full post.

A# Major
The well-traveled person, a guy who needs to always be moving around. Has a career that requires him to travel the world, and see many places. Very intelligent and cultured.

A good example of this chord/scale in music.

A# Minor
The disabled kid who feels blocked in life to better opportunities or advancement. More frustrated and angry than sad or pessimistic.

While the guitar strums A# major, the song follows notes in the minor scale.

The full post.

Well, it was interesting putting all of that together finally. Brief descriptions with musical examples (to virtually the best of my ears and knowledge). Only the G sharps are missing example music, but oh well. I've really found that musicians prefer minor scales as most popular songs and music use the first and seventh notes - but they're almost always a whole step away from each other rather than half a step as it would be in a major. It's an interesting thing for me to note.

It's also a bit of an accomplishment for me to finally publish this as it's taken me all day long (I started yesterday afternoon and then went to work). I hope people find this interesting as I don't think you'd find musical examples with descriptions of major/minor scales, and this is further made colourful with my synesthetic perception of the chord's personality.

Isn't it kind of neat at least?

Red Cloud
"

Monday, December 8, 2014

A# Major/Minor

The final chord. The black key in between A and B. That's a good one. In some countries in Europe, this is actually called B while the B key is called H. So instead of A-A#-B, it would be A-B-H. This can also be called Bb (flat), just like all the other sharps could be called flats, but the # sign on my Mac keyboard looks more like a sharp sign than a lowercase b looks like a flat sign (to me), so I've been sticking to - and continuing to stick to - sharps.

If you read what I have below about major/minor differences on the previous posts, go ahead and skip this - it's just for newcomers reading this.

A note on major/minor:
There is an obvious difference between a major and a minor. Wikipedia naturally describes a minor chord has differing "from a major chord in having a minor third above the root instead of a major third." In other words, the third key from the first on a keyboard (not in the chord or scale) would simply be moved a key to the left. In C major, the notes are C-E-G. E is three keys from C; move one key to the left and you're now on E flat or D sharp. Hence C minor. The "minor third" just means the third note in a minor scale.
Ear-wise, the difference is also obvious because minor chords sound darker and moody and tentative while major chords are bright and happy and powerful in contrast. If you've heard any sad songs, they're likely built around a minor scale progression and use minor chords. 'Not Home Today' uses mostly minor chords (E minor and B minor) and is a song about an unfortunate circumstance, with a doom-filled ending. 'Around the Bend' uses largely major chords and is a happy song about friendship and good times. Of course, not all songs operate this way - 'The Sign' by Ace of Base has bright chords yet talks about a potentially negative relationship. 'Alive' by Pearl Jam has what people have referred to as an anthemic sound, with great strong major guitar chords and progressions, yet it's about a man who discovers his father died long ago and his mother is virtually attracted to him thanks to his resemblance to his father.

Inversions

The thing about inversions - where the root note is not the lowest or first note played in the chord - is that it's all the same for every chord major or minor: It's either darker or brighter, in terms of colour as well as personality (though slightly, and it's perhaps more on the main personalities' view or opinion or feeling on something).

Major

Colour: Darkish green (similar to A minor) but with a form to it.
Light: Muted.
Spatial Direction: Northeast.
Gender: Masculine.

This is someone who wants to get out there in the world, see everything. He's explored Rome and France, toured Italy. His job is likely one that requires him to do this, and as a result he's worked hard to get here. Perhaps as an international journalist and/or photographer. He's extroverted but not demanding a crowd, more in the sense that he's not shy and approaches people with ease. He could lead a group of explorers if he wanted to. He's also intelligent, and I kind of picture him as Wilson from Home Improvement, but more as a traveller than as someone ready to give a quote from the literary or political world. Maybe he could end up as someone like Wilson. The chord is obvious in the 1991 U2 song 'Mysterious Ways' - the note is the first thing you hear in the song, which I think remains in that scale. Its music video also helps visualize that traveler's aspect for the chord for me considering where it was filmed, the scenes you get in it. 'Walking on the Moon's' chorus begins on A# major.

Minor

Colour: Blue-green.
Light: Muted
Spatial Direction: East.
Gender: Masculine.

While G# minor is accident-prone, this chord is likely physically disabled. He is similar to E minor in his disappointment or frustration, except in this case it's because he feels blocked and at a disadvantage. I see someone in a wheelchair or with an obvious limp, someone who may have had a stroke, or some kind of disability that caused his mind to regress a little. Or maybe that didn't happen at all, but he's still physically disabled, and as a result, he has difficulty finding work and lives on disability benefits. May still live with his parents, who can also be a source of the same feelings. My friend Brent comes to mind a little, though I don't think he's as annoyed as A# minor. I really just see someone as feeling ultimately blocked, in life. From a lot of things we take for granted. I can't think of any song that uses A# minor. I think it's an unfortunate chord.

Well, that finally spells an end to my series of chords based on my synesthetic impressions and imagery. I should point out that the contexts I drew with these chords are singularly based on those chords alone, and not really when they're used with others in song. That always changes the context, and sometimes hugely. Sometimes it doesn't, but there are songs I've heard for the first couple of times and not gotten the chord I heard first right away at all, and thought due to its context it was something hugely different from what it was - like the D major keyboard opening on 'I Love L.A.' by Randy Newman. When I first heard that, I didn't think that was D major starting at all, but something extremely happy and friendly - which is D major, but in its context in the song and on the keyboard it was played, I didn't see D major at all. Until I figured it out, and it made perfect sense. Otherwise the keyboard sound made it seem like a happy kid with something cool to say, like F# major.

Red Cloud
"

G# Major/minor

Almost there. G# major/minor's going to be interesting because I don't quite have a good handle on a chord I rarely if ever have heard or used.

If you read what I have below about major/minor differences on the previous posts, go ahead and skip this - it's just for newcomers reading this.

A note on major/minor:
There is an obvious difference between a major and a minor. Wikipedia naturally describes a minor chord has differing "from a major chord in having a minor third above the root instead of a major third." In other words, the third key from the first on a keyboard (not in the chord or scale) would simply be moved a key to the left. In C major, the notes are C-E-G. E is three keys from C; move one key to the left and you're now on E flat or D sharp. Hence C minor. The "minor third" just means the third note in a minor scale.
Ear-wise, the difference is also obvious because minor chords sound darker and moody and tentative while major chords are bright and happy and powerful in contrast. If you've heard any sad songs, they're likely built around a minor scale progression and use minor chords. 'Not Home Today' uses mostly minor chords (E minor and B minor) and is a song about an unfortunate circumstance, with a doom-filled ending. 'Around the Bend' uses largely major chords and is a happy song about friendship and good times. Of course, not all songs operate this way - 'The Sign' by Ace of Base has bright chords yet talks about a potentially negative relationship. 'Alive' by Pearl Jam has what people have referred to as an anthemic sound, with great strong major guitar chords and progressions, yet it's about a man who discovers his father died long ago and his mother is virtually attracted to him thanks to his resemblance to his father.

Inversions

The thing about inversions - where the root note is not the lowest or first note played in the chord - is that it's all the same for every chord major or minor: It's either darker or brighter, in terms of colour as well as personality (though slightly, and it's perhaps more on the main personalities' view or opinion or feeling on something).

Major

Colour: Brown/gold
Light: Muted
Spatial Direction: Like just about all the others, east.
Gender: Masculin

This is the one chord (both major and minor) that kind of stumps me, because I never hear it often in music - the most I've ever heard of it is as the third or fourth note in a progression, which makes it a sort of subdominant or final sound in that context, but otherwise, I've almost never used it on the keyboard. I've heard F# major and minor and A# major/minor quite a few times, but never the lone G#, stuck in the middle between both of them.

If I could say anything, G# major is probably the guy who doesn't have any complaints or comments of note, positive or not. He doesn't know what to do with his life. He just blindly takes whatever comes to him and goes with the flow. Nothing really interests him, but nothing really gets his disapproval either. Probably a younger person without much life experience, or a drifter-type. The guy who takes whatever crap comes to him with a "oh well, it is what it is" attitude. This is different from the negative version of this saying, which would be applied to life in general, not the mere circumstance.

This is the last guitar chord played in the progression of the song 'I Can't Stop' by jackSoul, and the second chord played in the 'Ah! Leah!' chorus.

Minor

Colour: Deep gold, like fries well-cooked.
Light: Muted (I think that area of the keyboard is largely muted).
Spatial Direction: East, southeast.
Gender: Masculine

In going through the other chords on the keyboard, I've come up with at least two chords who are kind of similar - like A and B major, or C and D major, D# and E major to an extent. G# minor is similar to C minor. Both are worriers.

The difference is that G# minor is not the type of worrier who worries about getting things done or getting anywhere or what people think of him. He worries about getting into sticky situations, because while he is mild-mannered and low-key and kind, he tends to be accident-prone and stuck in a position that involves delivering bad news. He could be an unconfident tax person come to tell someone they're being audited or something. And he hates confrontation, doesn't deal with it well. He'll worry that an angry person whom he just served with an audit will jump him from behind at the bus stop or subway and push him in front of the bus or train. He's not really paranoid, but while he tries to maintain a positive, good demeanor, his lack of confidence - compounded with his accident-prone manner - causes him to sometimes feel scared and as a result pity himself on his worst days. He's not a bad guy - he doesn't focus on the negative - but he just lacks confidence and certain fine motor skills and dexterity owing to falling off his bike all the time or spilling coffee on himself (picture Andy Dick as Matthew from News Radio but not as extreme). This chord is the third one in the piano progression of 'All That She Wants' by Ace of Base.

One more to go - A# major/minor.

Red Cloud
"

Sunday, December 7, 2014

F# Major/Minor

Moving on to F# major and minor...

If you read what I have below about major/minor differences on the previous posts, go ahead and skip this - it's just for newcomers reading this.

A note on major/minor:
There is an obvious difference between a major and a minor. Wikipedia naturally describes a minor chord has differing "from a major chord in having a minor third above the root instead of a major third." In other words, the third key from the first on a keyboard (not in the chord or scale) would simply be moved a key to the left. In C major, the notes are C-E-G. E is three keys from C; move one key to the left and you're now on E flat or D sharp. Hence C minor. The "minor third" just means the third note in a minor scale.
Ear-wise, the difference is also obvious because minor chords sound darker and moody and tentative while major chords are bright and happy and powerful in contrast. If you've heard any sad songs, they're likely built around a minor scale progression and use minor chords. 'Not Home Today' uses mostly minor chords (E minor and B minor) and is a song about an unfortunate circumstance, with a doom-filled ending. 'Around the Bend' uses largely major chords and is a happy song about friendship and good times. Of course, not all songs operate this way - 'The Sign' by Ace of Base has bright chords yet talks about a potentially negative relationship. 'Alive' by Pearl Jam has what people have referred to as an anthemic sound, with great strong major guitar chords and progressions, yet it's about a man who discovers his father died long ago and his mother is virtually attracted to him thanks to his resemblance to his father.

Inversions

The thing about inversions - where the root note is not the lowest or first note played in the chord - is that it's all the same for every chord major or minor: It's either darker or brighter, in terms of colour as well as personality (though slightly, and it's perhaps more on the main personalities' view or opinion or feeling on something).

Major

Colour: Brown, a wood-brown. Maybe some minor yellow in there.
Light: Muted.
Spatial Direction: East.
Gender: Masculin

This may be where I might get into some similarity issues here, because F# major is similar to E major - extroverted. But I think I can say that F# major does differ in that he's a step down from E major. I would call F# major the cool kid who always has a neat thing to talk about, neat stories or adventures. His family takes him on trips often and he comes back with things to tell, and leads his friends in imagination-based games. As a teen he wears cool sunglasses and is easy with the girls while accommodating to everyone. Perhaps the masculine equivalent to D major, but also similar to C major (except C major is more down to earth and more academic). That's the only issue here, is F# major's similarity to C, D, and E majors - but there are notable differences in that D major is a kind girl to me who is extroverted but not bombastic, E major is (as a guy), C major sees things in concrete, linear terms and is disciplined, and F# major has positive social traits like the others but is more of an in-the-moment person who tells cool stories and isn't as academically disciplined. For some reason, I get that personality from the male lead singer in 'Steal My Sunshine.' He sounds like a guy with cool, interesting things to say openly to you. I don't know why. It may just be the sound of his voice. 'Around the Bend' by Asteroids Galaxy Tour (another recent-ish song) starts its progression on that chord.

Minor:

Colour: Brown with a slight white sheen.
Light: Muted.
Spatial Direction: East, southeast
Gender: Masculine

As a minor, F# tends to have, as its major counterpart, similarities with most of the other minors - an inclination to look on the more negative side, to submit to darker realities, see the world with a dirty lens. But the think with F# minor is that I don't get someone who's struggled, I get a successful, educated person who isn't totally satisfied. In fact, although I never saw it and only read about it, probably the main character in Citizen Kane. Orson Welles. Someone who is accomplished in life, but just not ready to be comfortable. F# minor has some inner issues. It's an unusual case of someone getting what he wants but not being happy either way.

The sharps, I've found, are not as explicitly easy to describe as the white keys were, other than A# major/minor. The next one, G# major/minor, will be something.

Red Cloud
"

D# Major/Minor!

Well, after many months and posts, here I am back to finishing this long-delayed series. I never got back to it because of both procrastination as well as other ideas taking priority, both to write here as well as thoughts and actions unrelated to this blog of sorts. Thankfully, I haven't lost sight on which they all mean to me, and when I finish all the notes, I'll be putting together a list of each in brief with a characteristic name and accompanying song I know corresponds to the note/chord/key signature.

If you read what I have below about major/minor differences on the previous posts, go ahead and skip this - it's just for newcomers reading this.

A note on major/minor:
There is an obvious difference between a major and a minor. Wikipedia naturally describes a minor chord has differing "from a major chord in having a minor third above the root instead of a major third." In other words, the third key from the first on a keyboard (not in the chord or scale) would simply be moved a key to the left. In C major, the notes are C-E-G. E is three keys from C; move one key to the left and you're now on E flat or D sharp. Hence C minor. The "minor third" just means the third note in a minor scale.
Ear-wise, the difference is also obvious because minor chords sound darker and moody and tentative while major chords are bright and happy and powerful in contrast. If you've heard any sad songs, they're likely built around a minor scale progression and use minor chords. 'Not Home Today' uses mostly minor chords (E minor and B minor) and is a song about an unfortunate circumstance, with a doom-filled ending. 'Around the Bend' uses largely major chords and is a happy song about friendship and good times. Of course, not all songs operate this way - 'The Sign' by Ace of Base has bright chords yet talks about a potentially negative relationship. 'Alive' by Pearl Jam has what people have referred to as an anthemic sound, with great strong major guitar chords and progressions, yet it's about a man who discovers his father died long ago and his mother is virtually attracted to him thanks to his resemblance to his father.


Inversions

The thing about inversions - where the root note is not the lowest or first note played in the chord - is that it's all the same for every chord major or minor: It's either darker or brighter, in terms of colour as well as personality (though slightly, and it's perhaps more on the main personalities' view or opinion or feeling on something).


Major

Colour: Violet
Light: Like light coming through a violet curtain, or perhaps light shining through violet water, below, moving shades. Coming from northeast.
Spatial Direction: East.
Gender: Feminine

This could be the chord for the fame-seeking, starry-eyed actors out there. Those women who appear in fashion ads or are seen as 'most powerful' in their famous status by celebrity magazines. I'm sure those Kardashian women could be good examples of D# major chords. This major chord best represents a conceited, fame-seeking personality, feminine to me, the kind of character that craves attention and will wink at the paparazzi cameras. The most obvious example in music of D# major I can think of is the song 'Clocks' by Coldplay - yes, a relatively recent song (within the millennium for once). The piano in the song accentuates the chord further by playing it inverted so that the tonic (D# major) is played first but the other two lower down on the keyboard. Therefore the tonic is the brightest at the highest pitch in the chord rather than the lowest, making it even more starry-eyed to me. I mention above that inversions don't really change much expect for the personalities' view or opinion or feeling on something, but this may be an exception in that in Coldplay's case, they make it seem even more fame-seeking or too perfect in photographs, etc. More out there. Furthermore, the piano (and therefore the whole song) is largely violet to me just thanks to that chord.

Minor

Colour: Purple-Brown mix
Light: Muted
Spatial Direction: East, southeast
Gender: Feminine

If you watched Arrested Development, you'll know about the Lucille Bluth character. That's D# minor to me exactly. 
For those who don't know, Lucille is the matriarch of the Bluth family and is, on the show, characteristically self-centred, extremely materialistic, self-gaining, manipulative, highly critical of everyone but herself, and rather only interested in her own possessions and wealth, and highly protective of them. She is the kind of person who has self-defence mechanisms up at all times, and uses them to stir drama and animosity between people via manipulation in order to ensure she's not a target on her own. That is D# minor. A materialistic, wealthy, paranoid, manipulative older woman only in it for personal gain. I don't really know any song in that key or using that chord except for maybe the Genesis song 'Jesus He Knows Me' from 1991, which has a keyboard sound that begins - but only begins - in that chord before moving on to all the others.

Nice to finally get back into doing these again. There's only three others to write, which I'll do shortly. 

Red Cloud
"

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Substantive Edit

With the semester for me coming to a close this week, I thought I'd put up one of the two short stories I had to write for one class I had. Not both, because a) the first one wasn't very good, focused on a character who has my experiences of having a type (and therefore goes through all the girls I've noticed or had crushes on that resemble one another) and b) to make things a little different, I'm going to put in the original draft in - as well as a version with substantive edit suggestions. Sort of similar to how Stephen King does that in his 'On Writing' book. The substantive editing was the final assignment in another class, which I found fun and interesting.

Original:

"No Sugar for Dad"

Mitchell opened the microwave and took out the freshly popped popcorn. He was in a tiny kitchen, and the microwave was on top of a similarly tiny fridge. Only  turning around and walking two feet would bring him into the living area, where Chris lounged on a twin-sized air mattress. They were in a small apartment located in a tower of low-income dwellings and it was New Year’s Eve 2012. Mitchell had arrived with a movie, and after they did some very light shopping that largely consisted of Kraft Dinner and junk food to eat during the film, he’d made the pasta for the two of them in the kitchen while Chris put the movie into the player, ready to go.
Mitchell was a young adult, about twenty. Chris was a middle-aged man, thirty-three years older than Mitchell. Mitchell had a full head of thick dark hair, a stocky frame, and a smooth-skinned face. Chris was balding, wiry thin, and his face was full of lines. Both wore glasses.
The two men had met in a college class a couple of years ago. Mitchell was just out of high school, and Chris was attempting to change the direction his life was going – he’d never had a job any better than retail and currently worked at Canadian Tire. Mitchell had an easy knack for getting along with people older than him, and Chris warmly reciprocated in class, so they got along well. Chris even paid Mitchell twenty dollars a week to tutor him in a class that taught Adobe InDesign after observing Mitchell’s quick ease with the program. Those were interesting sessions; they had to use both Photoshop and InDesign to create properly-structured visuals and pamphlets, and Chris was hopeless at both. Despite their efforts and corresponding lunches at McDonalds, Chris had been nevertheless been doomed because the big midterm test in that class had been paper-based and theoretical rather than practical and computer-based, so that as Mitchell consistently wrote down answers and checked the right terminologies, Chris sat there with his pen poised, staring at the paper in deep thought for over ten minutes before answering one question. When they went over it together later, Mitchell had to keep in his laughter as he saw Chris’s sparse, wrong, woefully incomplete answers. He’d matched the Pen Tool icon in Photoshop with the term “History Brush.”
By the end of their first year, neither Mitchell or Chris completed the program they were in; Chris merely stopped coming to a couple of classes, and eventually became absent from all of them altogether. Mitchell failed one, causing him to not qualify for several others. By that point he’d lost all interest and knew he wasn’t going to pass one of his other classes, so he opted to drop out. Part of it had to do with his obsessive focus on a long-distance relationship he’d developed with a girl he knew in high school who’d moved to Calgary, which had taken complete precedence over his homework completion. But Mitchell kept up his friendship with Chris because he was engaging to talk to. At the same time, the one other personal friend Mitchell had, still in high school – Eddy – decided to report him to the police at school because Mitchell had thrown foam at him at Hog’s Back Falls (but he didn’t phrase it that way) so Chris was all Mitchell had by that point.
Chris lived in Vanier, in an apartment building for low-income or welfare-funded people just below the poverty line, and Mitchell had lunch with him there for the first time that winter. They had an enjoyable time and Chris had a neat record collection. That was when, despite the mini rainbow flag perched on Chris’s table, Mitchell found out that the older man was actually gay. It was a shock to him – discovering something that personal about someone always was to him – and it had come indirectly through a conversation about the way certain 80s pop stars looked, with all that make-up and hair styling.
“I wouldn’t be surprised that half of those people were gay, I mean look at me, you think I’m any different? I know how it goes.”
Mitchell didn’t react and decided, with a firm open mind, that the revelation would have nothing to do with their friendship, so they continued on the way they were. They had a lot of phone conversations over the next year, and met up for lunch on frequent occasions. Once or twice Mitchell met him at Canadian Tire to go the nearby Burger King. More than once over the phone, Chris, apparently battling some conflicting inner feelings, ensured Mitchell knew that he saw the younger man as a sort of son, and that was how he cared about him. This was after some banter about how Chris sometimes felt uncomfortable having the younger man around too often or too intimately, like at his apartment. Mitchell had no issue with that or how the older man was, and kept his interest in their lunches and phone conversations.
On Chris’s suggestion, Mitchell spent the evening of the last day of the year at his apartment, to have a drink and watch a movie, talk like two guys. Mitchell looked forward to it. During that period, he was still in a constant text-based relationship with that girlfriend in Calgary. It was going through a phase that had the potential to be the end of the relationship, so it was good to have that night as a distraction. Chris, from his perspective, did not like Brooke – he had to listen to Mitchell talk about his issues or perspectives or feelings concerning Brooke on the phone, and now and then he’d mention this other girl, “Blinder” or whatever her name was, something German. His low opinion of Brooke was that she never gave anything back to Mitchell.  As he’d told Mitchell, he wouldn’t take that melodrama in a relationship.
Mitchell bought some Kraft Dinner at the Loblaws, and after it was cooked in that tiny kitchen, both men settled down to watch a Kevin Smith film called Dogma. Chris drank the whole time, which made him prone to talking and the movie prone to being paused often. When they finally finished, it was almost the New Year. They continued their conversation, however, and predictably, Mitchell started talking about Brooke. Chris wasn’t interested.
“I really think we’re still in a proper relationship, and I really think she still likes me the way she does,” Mitchell declared. “I have to be positive and optimistic, no matter what, or else this will just fail due to the distance and to her damn mother.”
“I don’t know why you are so committed. You won’t for one second entertain the idea that she’s playing you?”
“She can’t be doing that, I know her.”
“Well all I know is that I wouldn’t want that in a relationship. No melodrama.”
“Yeah, yeah.”
Chris stared hard at him. “Would you ever entertain that?”
“What?”
“A relationship. With me.”
Mitchell stared at him for a second. The thoughts going through his mind turned repulsive at the idea of the two of them sexually active together. “Uh… sorry Chris. I like girls.”
“Really? I know for certain you wouldn’t get that kind of crap from me.”
“Sorry man…as a friend I’m interested.” He tried to sound as positive as he could in saying that, because it was true – he wanted to be Chris’s friend. They had good conversations. Chris seemed to care about what he went through from time to time – whether it was Brooke or issues with his father or the whole needless Eddy affair. And Mitchell had his own care for Chris – it was just a friendly, platonic care.
“Well, alright then.” He looked slightly downcast, and when Mitchell looked into his eyes, they seemed let down if not crying out for him. He had to suppress a grimace. Maybe the whole idea of being almost intimate friends with a much older man like him – hanging out at his apartment and all that – was a bit too much.
Chris accompanied Mitchell to the bus stop on the next street a short while later. When Mitchell had paused to see the record collection again, Chris had opened his closet (the collection was in his bedroom) to get a coat and Mitchell had caught site of the porn magazine on the floor. In all the time he’d known Chris, he hadn’t seen the magazines, but of course Mitchell had never found the impulse to go looking in the man’s closet. Chris noticed Mitchell’s discovery and grinned. “Oh, yeah, my nudie magazines.” He’d chuckled, and then they’d left. As they’d walked to the bus stop, conversation about human attraction came up, and Chris had noted that he’d found Mitchell attractive right from the beginning. Mitchell did his best to keep the conversation towards other topics, but that didn’t stop Chris from even letting slip that he’d “jerked off” to Mitchell once or twice, if not more. Mitchell thought briefly about how that topic – masturbation – had somehow popped up in Chris’s conversation topics at least once during every conversation they’d had. “There’s not one person in this whole world that doesn’t do it,” he’d noted at the bus station once. Mitchell couldn’t remember how that piece of info had found its opening into the conversation, but that December-January night was the first time Chris had connected the act explicitly with him.
Despite all of this, Mitchell wanted to make the effort to continue his friendship to Chris because there were positive traits to the guy, good times and memories, and he didn’t like the idea of distancing himself from someone just because they were gay (even if they harbored feelings towards him). He bussed home that night, arriving just in time for 2012 to begin.
Two months later in March, Mitchell phoned Chris. They had your normal conversation at first, but it became apparent to Mitchell how conflicted Chris was over his feelings to him; originally he’d maintained that Mitchell was more like a son to him, but perhaps that was just a cover to avoid revealing the truth and perhaps scaring him away originally. Chris didn’t seem as interested in continuing much of an intimate friendship, especially after he propositioned him once again on the phone, but Mitchell tried; eventually he agreed to keep in touch in the coming spring so they could arrange more lunches at McDonalds and other fast-food places.
Chris never called him back. And Mitchell, even though he was always interested in the friendship, realized that he really wasn’t too bothered. It was June now. Mitchell had finally moved on from Brooke by now, so maybe Chris was another person to commit to his past. The guy wouldn’t call back, and Mitchell wasn’t up to making the effort to bothering him with a phone call – if Chris didn’t call him, there was a reason. The older man was probably too conflicted to entertain a friendship with someone with whom he wanted more, and Mitchell wasn’t going to deliver. Besides, perhaps it wasn’t in good nature to keep Chris close all the time when he spent all his private time fantasizing about Mitchell.
Two and a half years later, in 2014, Mitchell was walking through a courtyard at the college, having returned to the same program he’d dropped out of several years ago. He was in a hurry; he’d parked at the main building and his paid ticket was about to expire. As he trotted along, something familiar caught his eye, and he looked to his extreme left. Sitting in the smoking shelter was Chris, evidently back at the college as well.
Mitchell stood there for a second. Chris saw him. Shaking his head with a small grin, Mitchell said, “I’ve got to run. See you.” As he walked away, Mitchell didn’t look back; it was neat and nice to see Chris again, but even if he had time, he wouldn’t have hung around for a long chat. Chris was part of his past now.
As for Chris, he didn’t respond, just inhaled deeply on his cigarette. Mitchell was a good-looking young man who cut it too short for him. He finished his cigarette, threw it to the ground, and stubbed it with his foot. Like he ever got any sugar, he reflected.

Edited:

Mitchell opened the microwave and took out the freshly popped popcorn. He was in a tiny kitchen, and the microwave was on top of a similarly tiny fridge. Only turning around and walking two feet would bring him into the living area, where Chris lounged on an twin-sized air mattress. They were in a small apartment located in a tower of low-income dwellings and it was New Year’s Eve 2012. Mitchell had arrived with a movie, and after they did some very light shopping that largely consisted of Kraft Dinner and junk food to eat during the film, he’d made the pasta for the two of them in the kitchen while Chris put the movie into the player, ready to go.
Mitchell was a young adult, about twenty. Chris was a middle-aged man, thirty-three years older than Mitchell. Mitchell had a full head of thick dark hair, a stocky frame, and a smooth-skinned face. Chris was balding, wiry thin, and his face was full of lines. Both wore glasses.
The two men had met in a college class a couple of years ago. Mitchell was just out of high school, and Chris was attempting to change the direction his life was going – he’d never had a job any better than retail and currently worked at Canadian Tire. Mitchell had an easy knack for getting along with people older than him older people, and Chris warmly reciprocated in class, so they got along well. Chris even paid Mitchell twenty dollars a week to tutor him in a class that taught Adobe InDesign after observing Mitchell’s quick ease with the program. Those were interesting sessions; they had to use both Photoshop and InDesign to create properly-structured visuals and pamphlets, and Chris was hopeless at both. Despite their efforts and corresponding lunches at McDonalds, Chris had been nevertheless been doomed because the big midterm test in that class had been paper-based and theoretical rather than practical and computer-based, so that as Mitchell consistently wrote down answers and checked the right terminologies, Chris sat there with his pen poised, staring at the paper in deep thought for over ten minutes before answering one question. When they went over it together later, Mitchell had to keep in hold back his laughter as he saw Chris’s sparse, wrong, woefully incomplete answers. He’d matched the Pen Tool icon in Photoshop with the term “History Brush.”
By the end of their first year, neither Mitchell nor Chris completed the program they were in; Chris merely stopped coming to a couple of classes, and eventually became absent from all of them altogether. Mitchell failed one, causing him to not qualify for several others.1 By that point he’d lost all interest and knew he wasn’t going to pass one of his other classes, so he opted to drop out. Part of it had to do with his obsessive focus on a long-distance relationship he’d developed with a girl he knew in high school who’d moved to Calgary, which had taken complete precedence over his homework completion. But Mitchell kept up his friendship with Chris because he was engaging to talk to. At the same time, the one other personal friend Mitchell had, still in high school – Eddy – decided to report him to the police at school because Mitchell had thrown foam at him at Hog’s Back Falls (but he2 didn’t phrase it that way) so Chris was all Mitchell had by that point.3
Chris lived in Vanier, in an apartment building for housing low-income or welfare-funded people just below the poverty line, and Mitchell had lunch with him there for the first time that winter. They had an enjoyable time and Chris had a neat record collection. That was when, despite the mini rainbow flag perched on Chris’s table, Mitchell found out that the older man was actually gay.4 It was a shock to him Mitchell – discovering something that personal about someone always was to him – and it had come indirectly through a conversation about the way certain 80s pop stars looked, with all that make-up and hair styling.
“I wouldn’t be surprised that half of those people were gay, I mean look at me, you think I’m any different? I know how it goes.”5
Mitchell didn’t react and decided, with a firm open mind, that the revelation would have nothing to do with their friendship, so they continued on the way they were. They had a lot of phone conversations over the next year, and met up for lunch on frequent occasions. Once or twice Mitchell met him at Canadian Tire to go the nearby Burger King. More than once over the phone, Chris, apparently battling some conflicting inner feelings,6 ensured Mitchell knew that he saw the younger man as a sort of son, and that was how he cared about him. This was after some banter about how Chris sometimes felt uncomfortable having the younger man around too often or too intimately, like at his apartment. Mitchell had no issue with that or how the older man was, and kept his interest in their lunches and phone conversations.
On Chris’s suggestion, Mitchell spent the evening of the last day of the year at his apartment, to have a drink and watch a movie, talk like two guys. Mitchell looked forward to it. During that period, he was still in a constant text-based relationship with that girlfriend in Calgary. It was going through a phase that had the potential to be the end of the relationship, so it was good to have that night as a distraction. Chris, from his perspective, did not like Brooke – he had to listen to Mitchell talk about his issues or perspectives or feelings concerning Brooke on the phone, and now and then he’d mention this other girl, “Blinder” or whatever her name was, something German.7 His low opinion of Brooke was that she never gave anything back to Mitchell.  As he’d told Mitchell, he wouldn’t take that melodrama in a relationship.
Mitchell bought some Kraft Dinner at the Loblaws, and after it was cooked in that tiny kitchen,8 both men settled down to watch a Kevin Smith film called Dogma. Chris drank the whole time, which made him prone to talking and the movie prone to being paused often Mitchell prone to pausing the movie often. When they finally finished, it was almost the New Year. They continued their conversation,9 however, and predictably, Mitchell started talking about Brooke. Chris wasn’t interested.
“I really think we’re still in a proper relationship, and I really think she still likes me the way she does,” Mitchell declared. “I have to be positive and optimistic, no matter what, or else this will just fail due to the distance and to her damn mother.”
“I don’t know why you are so committed. You won’t for one second entertain the idea that she’s playing you?”
“She can’t be doing that, I know her.”
“Well all I know is that I wouldn’t want that in a relationship. No melodrama.”
“Yeah, yeah.”
Chris stared hard at him. “Would you ever entertain consider that?”
“What?”
“A relationship. With me.”
Mitchell stared at him for a second. The thoughts going through his mind turned repulsive at the idea10 of the two of them sexually active together. “Uh… sorry Chris. I like girls.”
“Really? I know for certain you wouldn’t get that kind of crap from me.”
“Sorry man…as a friend I’m interested.” He tried to sound as positive as he could in saying that, because it was true – he wanted to be Chris’s friend. They had good conversations. Chris seemed to care about what he went through from time to time – whether it was Brooke or issues with his father or the whole needless Eddy affair. And Mitchell had his own care for Chris – it was just a friendly, platonic care.
“Well, alright then.” He looked slightly downcast, and when Mitchell looked into his eyes, they seemed let down if not crying out for him. He had to suppress a grimace. Maybe the whole idea of being almost intimate friends with a much older man like him Chris – hanging out at his apartment and all that – was a bit too much.
Chris accompanied Mitchell to the bus stop on the next street a short while later. When Mitchell had paused to see the record collection again, Chris had opened his closet (the collection was in his bedroom) to get a coat and Mitchell had caught site of the porn magazine on the floor.11 In all the time he’d known Chris, he hadn’t seen the magazines, but of course Mitchell had never found the impulse to go looking in the man’s closet. Chris noticed Mitchell’s discovery and grinned. “Oh, yeah, my nudie magazines.” He’d chuckled, and then they’d left. As they’d walked to the bus stop, conversation about human attraction came up, and Chris had noted that he’d found Mitchell attractive right from the beginning. Mitchell did his best to keep the conversation towards other topics, but that didn’t stop Chris from even letting slip that he’d “jerked off” to Mitchell once or twice, if not more. Mitchell thought briefly about how that topic – masturbation – had somehow popped up in Chris’s conversation topics at least once during every conversation they’d had. “There’s not one person in this whole world that doesn’t do it,” he’d noted at the bus station once. Mitchell couldn’t remember how that piece of info had found its opening into the conversation, but that December-January night was the first time Chris had connected the act explicitly with him.
Despite all of this, Mitchell wanted to make the effort to continue his friendship to Chris because there were positive traits to the guy, good times and memories, and he didn’t like the idea of distancing himself from someone just because they were gay (even if they harbored feelings towards him). He bussed home that night, arriving just in time for 2012 to begin.
Two months later in March, Mitchell phoned Chris. They had your normal conversation at first, but it became apparent to Mitchell how conflicted Chris was over his feelings to him; originally he’d maintained that Mitchell was more like a son to him, but perhaps that was just a cover to avoid revealing the truth and perhaps maybe scaring him away originally. Chris didn’t seem as interested in continuing much of an intimate friendship, especially after he propositioned him once again on the phone, but Mitchell tried; eventually he agreed to keep in touch in the coming spring so they could arrange more lunches at McDonalds and other fast-food places.
Chris never called him back. And Mitchell, even though he was always interested in the friendship, realized that he really wasn’t too bothered. It was June now. Mitchell had finally moved on from Brooke by now, so maybe Chris was another person to commit to his past. The guy wouldn’t call back, and Mitchell wasn’t up to making the effort to bothering him with a phone call – if Chris didn’t call him, there was a reason. The older man was probably too conflicted to entertain a friendship with someone with whom he wanted more, and Mitchell wasn’t going to deliver. Besides, perhaps it wasn’t in good nature to keep Chris close all the time when he spent all his private time fantasizing about Mitchell.
Two and a half years later, in 2014, Mitchell was walking through a courtyard at the college, having returned to the same program he’d dropped out of several years ago. He was in a hurry; he’d parked at the main building and his paid ticket was about to expire. As he trotted along, something familiar caught his eye, and he looked to his extreme left. Sitting in the smoking shelter was Chris, evidently back at the college as well.
Mitchell stood there for a second. Chris saw him. Shaking his head with a small grin, Mitchell said, “I’ve got to run. See you.” As he walked away, Mitchell didn’t look back; it was neat and nice to see Chris again, but even if he had time, he wouldn’t have hung around for a long chat. Chris was part of his past now.12
As for Chris, he didn’t respond, just inhaled deeply on his cigarette. Mitchell was a good-looking young man who cut it too short for him. He finished his cigarette, threw it to the ground, and stubbed it with his foot. Like he ever got any sugar, he reflected.

  1. In what context? When? For the next level or semester?
  2. ‘he’ refers to Mitchell or Eddy?
  3. That sentence has slightly romantic connotations. ‘had for a friend’ would keep the focus clear.
  4. This is mildly confusing. Despite the rainbow flag? The rainbow flag tells Mitchell that Chris is not gay? The rainbow flag would be a suggestion that he is gay, not otherwise.
  5. That sentence suggests that Chris is asking Mitchell to look at the way he styles himself similar to those certain 80s pop stars. Does Chris wear makeup and style his hair the same way? Is that how he explains his sexuality?
  6. This sentence sounds like it is coming from someone’s point of view – whose point of view is it? Who thinks that apparent idea? Does the narrator have his own perspectives?
  7. There is no point in including a character that only gets one sentence and an ‘apparent’ last name.
  8. This is already explained.
  9. They continued their conversation? They conversed throughout the movie? I thought only Chris was prone to talking.
  10. Is Mitchell repulsed at those thoughts or his thoughts repulsed?
  11. What about it? Is there a significance? Is it a porn magazine for gay men? Otherwise there’s no point for this whole scene.
  12. Yeah, we know.

The story is based on a real friendship I had with someone like that. Walking past him at the college a month ago is what inspired the story (which was due that evening).

I enjoyed analyzing my own writing and objectively picking up things and errors I made. I've been told most people find it difficult, but I didn't. I had to write a page-long explanation of the piece from an editor's point of view, including the errors and weaknesses, and I didn't find it hard to fill up the page at all. Then again, it's been said of me that I am way too critical of myself, but I think those arguments are reasonable and objective.

Now maybe I should try that with my own blog posts. That would really change the way they're written for sure.

Red Cloud
"